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Sounders FC

Daily coverage of Seattle Sounders FC, MLS and world soccer.

July 26, 2010 at 5:49 PM

Sounders FC weekly release of team news and notes

International competition commences for the resurgent Seattle Sounders FC this week, with an important MLS match sandwiched in between the two legs of the CONCACAF Champions League preliminary round series. Unbeaten in its last four games in all competitions, Sounders FC hosts El Salvador’s AD Isidro Metapan on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. PT. Gates open at 6 p.m. PT.

On Saturday night, Seattle is back in league play, visiting the San Jose Earthquakes at 7 p.m. PT. The outcome of the Champions League series will be decided in San Salvador on August 3 at 7 p.m. PT. Both games against Metapan will be nationally televised on Fox Soccer Channel.

Good seats are still available for the Metapan match. For tickets to Sounders FC home matches, call 1-877-MLS-GOAL or visit www.SoundersFC.com.

Sounders FC (6-8-4, 22 points) continued to close ground on the eighth and final MLS Cup Playoffs position last week, beating Colorado, 2-1. Seattle has won two in a row and has not lost in its last three league starts dating back to July 11. The four-game unbeaten run in all competitions began with a 2-0 win over the L.A. Galaxy in a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal on July 7.

Metapan and Sounders FC are vying for a spot in the group stage of the Champions League. The winner of the two-game series will be determined by total goals. Away goals will serve as the tiebreaker. However, if the score of the series remained tied after regulation on August 3, 30 minutes of extra time will be added and, if needed, penalty kicks will decide the outcome.

Saturday’s match in the Bay Area offers an opportunity for Seattle to jump from sixth to fourth in the Western Conference. San Jose (6-4-5, 23 points) enters the week tied for fourth and, more importantly, the final playoff slot. The Quakes have been idle since drawing, 2-2, at Los Angeles on July 22. They are undefeated in four games (1-0-3) since June 5.

Sounders FC won the first two meetings with San Jose, both at home in 2009. The Earthquakes have responded by taking the last two matches in the series, including a 1-0 road win on the Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field on May 22.

Saturday’s match will be broadcast live on KING 5 and KIRO 97.3 FM with Arlo White calling the play. The game will also be broadcast on THIS-TV (Comcast channel 114) with announcers Jaime Mendez and Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar and on Homero 1210 AM with Rene Aleman, Victor Hernandez and Noe Menendez.

Seattle returns to MLS play at home against the Houston Dynamo at 8 p.m. PT on August 8.

Upcoming Competition Schedule (All times Pacific)

Wednesday, July 28, 7 p.m. – Isidro Metapan, Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field, Seattle (CONCACAF Champions League preliminary round; Gates Open at 6 p.m.)

Saturday, July 31, 7 p.m. – at San Jose Earthquakes, Buck Shaw Stadium, Santa Clara, Calif.

Tuesday, August 3, 7 p.m. – at Isidro Metapan, Estadio Cuscatlan, San Salvador, El Salvador (CONCACAF Champions League preliminary round)

Sunday, August 8, 8 p.m. – Houston Dynamo, Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field, Seattle

Sunday, August 14, 7:30 p.m. – at Chivas USA, The Home Depot Center, Carson, Calif.

PEMCO Junior Sounders

The Seattle Sounders FC and PEMCO Insurance have launched a membership program designed exclusively for young fans. For an annual membership fee of $25, Sounders FC Jr. Alliance members will receive a limited edition lunchbox, scarf, and access to exclusive special events to meet Sounders FC coaches and players. The program is open to fans ages 6-14.

Sounders FC defender Tyrone Marshall will serve as honorary chair. Marshall and his wife Cari are the proud parents of four children and expect their fifth child sometime this fall.

PEMCO will also serve as presenting partner of Autograph Alley, the post-match location where pre-selected fans are able to secure autographs from Sounders FC players. This is the second consecutive season PEMCO has partnered with the team.

Fans are invited to visit PEMCO’s mobile booth, located at the northwest entrance to Qwest Field, to receive a personalized souvenir photo and lanyard. Jr. Alliance members are encouraged to visit the booth for the chance to win special prizes including access to Autograph Alley.

Zakuani Named MLS Player of the Week

After bagging his first career multi-goal game Steve Zakuani has been named the MLS Player of the Week. Zakuani scored twice within the first 17 minutes of the 2-1 win over Colorado. That boosts his season total to seven goals, tying him for fourth in the league.

The left winger has nearly doubled his rookie season production with 12 matches remaining and has done so by taking deadlier aim. Half of his 30 shots this season have been on frame. Sounders FC is 6-1-3 when Zakuani scores.

Zakuani’s brace was the first for Seattle since Nate Jaqua’s against Colorado on June 28, 2009. Fredy Montero is the only other player with a two-goal game (March 19, 2009, vs. New York). Zakuani is the club’s first player of the week selection since Jaqua in Week 23 of 2009.

Montero on the March

Whether scoring or creating, Fredy Montero remains one of the hottest forwards in MLS.

Montero has now contributed either a goal or an assist in seven straight games following his assist on Steve Zakuani’s second goal versus Colorado. He also had an unofficial role in the buildup to Zakuani’s first strike, taking the ball into the box before a defender poked it into Zakuani’s path.

Montero has either scored (5) or assisted (6) on 11 of the last 14 goals scored by Sounders FC, dating back to April 22. He is tied for second in MLS assists with eight, one shy of Freddie Ljungberg’s team record.

The 22-year-old Colombian forward is the only player to rank among top 10 in both goals (tied for eighth with six) and assists. Montero has attempted 15 shots in the last three games, with six on target, including a blast from just inside the midfield stripe in the final minutes against the Rapids.

Keller in His Prime

Kasey Keller has been in great form since returning from the World Cup break, and his handiwork against Colorado had the supporters singing his praises. Keller leaped to tip a Conor Casey header over the bar in the first half of the win over the Rapids. He made two other saves in quick succession during the second half to preserve the lead. The first stop, a lunge to the left to thwart Jamie Smith’s redirecting backheel, set off the stadium’s chorus of calling his name. Keller leads all MLS players in minutes played with 1575 and his six wins ties him for fifth. He has yet to miss a league match due to injury and has played in 43 straight.

Nkufo Rollout Now Complete

Blaise Nkufo completed his incremental rollout last week by making his first start against Colorado. Nkufo played 70 minutes up top and his ability to hold the ball and play in quick combinations was rewarded with a standing ovation from the appreciative capacity crowd.

Nkufo, Seattle’s second Designated Player signing, had played 60 minutes in Seattle’s July 18 friendly with Celtic. He first donned the Rave Green (but did not play) at D.C. United on July 15.

Prior to last week, Nkufo’s last competitive match was for the Swiss National Team on June 25 against Honduras at the 2010 FIFA WorldCup. Nkufo scored 114 goals over the past seven seasons for FC Twente, leading the Enschede club to the Dutch Eredivisie title in 2010.

Youth Movement

Sigi Schmid is relying more on his young players of late. His starting midfield foursome against Colorado-Sanna Nyassi (21), Osvaldo Alonso (24), Nathan Sturgis (23) and Steve Zakuani (22)- averaged 22.5 years of age, and Nyassi earned an assist on the game-winning goal for the second straight game. Alonso made his first start since May 8 and his timely tackling was instrumental in preserving the three points. Rookie Michael Seamon (21) was substituted for Sturgis in the 74th minute. Six of the starters against Colorado were 25 or younger. Patrick Ianni (25) is in the back four and Fredy Montero (who turns 23 on July 26) started up front.

Busy Days Are Here, Again

Seattle has begun another busy stretch. Within a span of 10 calendar days between July 25 and August 3 Sounders FC will play four matches, including a 3,500-mile, two-match road trip later this week to San Jose and on to San Salvador. Should Seattle advance from its CONCACAF Champions League series with Metapan, it could potentially play 11 matches over six weeks and 23 times altogether before the MLS regular season ends in late October.

Back Four Settles In

After leaking nine goals in consecutive losses to D.C., Philadelphia and L.A., the defense has allowed only two goals in the last three outings. That stretch coincides with the pairing of Patrick Ianni with Jeff Parke in central defense. James Riley has started 17 straight on the right side. Zach Scott covered for the suspended Leo Gonzalez on the left against Colorado.

The Injury Factor

Seattle has yet to put its projected first XI on the pitch in 2010. Injuries have sidelined key players such as Nate Jaqua (the first 13 matches), Osvaldo Alonso (seven games), Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (the past eight) and Brad Evans (five). Mike Fucito has been lost to a knee injury since scoring the winner versus Kansas City on April 17.

Only three players have appeared in each of the 18 matches. Kasey Keller is the only player to start each fixture and he is the leader in minutes (1575). Fredy Montero and Steve Zakuani are the only outfield players with 18 appearances. Defender James Riley tops all outfield players in minutes (1518). Already Sigi Schmid has used 27 different players in MLS matches, compared to 22 in all of the inaugural season.

Join the Sounders, See the World

Sounders FC will end this month and begin the next with the Big Trip. The first leg is a relatively short one: 696 miles to San Jose to meet the Earthquakes on Saturday 31. On Sunday the team flies 2,800 miles to San Salvador and the second leg of the Champions League series with Metapan. On August 4, the team returns to Seattle via Houston to prepare for a match against the Dynamo on August 8. If Sounders FC advances to the Champions League group stage the club will visit either Marathon of Honduras or Tauro of Panama on August 19.

About Metapan

AD Isidro Metapan won the 2010 Clausura for its fourth title in the last seven seasons (there are two seasons per year in El Salvador’s Primera Division). That season concluded with the final on May 23. All of the championships have come under coach Edwin Portillo, who also played 10 years for Los Caleros. The 2010 Apertura begins August 8 at Alianza.

Metapan was 5-2-8 in league play and then advanced over Firpo (4-3 on aggregate) and Aguila in the playoffs. Mark Blanco scored two first-half goals in the final with Aguila. Elias Montes scored the deciding goal in the 81st minute of the second leg semi at Firpo. Metapan was 3-0-5 at home and drew 2-2 with Firpo in the semifinal first leg at home, the 8,000-seat Estadio Jorge Calero Suarez.

The August 3 match with Sounders FC will be played at the Estadio Cuscatlan, the 44,000-capacity national stadium in the capital city of San Salvador. It is also the home pitch for Alianza. Metapan is located in the northwest corner of El Salvador, approximately 50 miles travel from San Salvador by road. Metapan’s home stadium, Estadio Suarez, was not approved as a suitable site by CONCACAF, prompting the move.

Awaiting the Winner

The winner of the Sounders FC-Metapan series advances to the group stage, joining Monterrey (Mexico), Saprissa (Costa Rica) and the winner of the preliminary round matchup of Tauro (Panama) and Marathon (Honduras). Marathon and Tauro meet Wednesday and again August 4.

In group play each team plays one another twice, home and away. Seattle would visit Marathon or Tauro on August 19 and host Monterrey on August 25. The remainder of the group stage schedule will be announced following completion of the preliminary round.

Past Champions

Several members of the Sounders FC have tasted success in the Champions League predecessor, the CONCACAF Champions Cup. Ezra Hendrickson, now an assistant coach, scored two goals in the 2000 Final as the L.A. Galaxy defeated Olimpia of Honduras, 3-2, at the Coliseum. Peter Vagenas was a teammate of Hendrickson and Sigi Schmid was the Galaxy coach.

From Here to There

Sounders FC qualified for the CONCACAF Champions League by winning the 2009 Lamar hunt U.S. Open Cup. The other U.S. berths went to Real Salt Lake (MLS Cup champion), Columbus Crew (MLS Supporters’ Shield winner) and L.A. Galaxy (MLS Cup runner-up). The former two receive automatic passage to the group stage. Toronto FC is Canada’s representative.

The CONCACAF Champions League is open to the leading teams from federations throughout North America, Central America and the Caribbean.

Pachuca of Mexico won the 2009-10 CONCACAF Champions League. It finished tied, 2-2, on aggregate with Cruz Azul, but prevailed on away goals. Pachuca will represent CONCACAF in the 2010 FIFA Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates in December. Barcelona is the reigning world champion.

The Champions League consists of three stages: preliminary rounds, group play and knockout rounds. Group play will begin in mid-August and conclude in late October. Two teams from each group advance to the quarterfinals, to be played in February 2011. The quarterfinals, semifinals and final are two-match series with the winner determined by total aggregate goals. Away goals will be used as the tiebreaker. If teams remain tied after extra time in the second game, the outcome will be decided by penalty kicks.

Champions League Experience

Altogether, seven current Sounders FC players have seen action in Champions League or Champions Cup competition previously in their career: Patrick Ianni (HOU 2007-08), Nate Jaqua (CHI 2004, HOU 2008), Tyrone Marshall (LA 2003, 2006), Pat Noonan (NE 2003, 2006), James Riley (NE 2006), Nathan Sturgis (LA 2006) and Peter Vagenas (LA 2000, 2003, 2006). Sigi Schmid coached the L.A. Galaxy during tournament appearances in 1999, 2000 and 2003.

Memories of San Salvador

Both goalkeeper Kasey Keller and central defender Tyrone Marshall have played international matches at the Estadio Cuscatlan. Keller earned the shutout in a 2-0 win for the U.S. National Team during World Cup qualifying in 2004. Tyrone Marshall was in the Jamaica XI for qualifiers in both 2000 and 2004. Sounders FC technical director Chris Henderson was a USMNT starter and served as captain in 1993 when the Stars and Stripes drew, 2-2, in a friendly with El Salvador.

CONCACAF Heavyweights

Mexico’s Cruz Azuland Club American each have five CONCACAF championships. Defending champion Pachuca has won four times, all since 2002. Mexican clubs have dominated the tournament, winning 27 titles since it began in 1962. The only two U.S. clubs to win were D.C. United (1998) and the L.A. Galaxy (2000). No MLS side has advanced to the final since 2000 and none have won a quarterfinal since 2008.

Sounders in CONCACAF Past

This marks the second CONCACAF involvement for a Seattle professional team. The Sounders qualified as the U.S. representative in 1996 as A-League champions. Seattle defeated Surinam’s Transvaal in the preliminary round then finished fourth in the final group stage, won by eventual champion Cruz Azul.

Sounders FC One Win Away from SUM Cup U17 Semifinals

The Seattle Sounders FC U-17 is one win away from reaching the semifinals of the 2010 SUM Cup in Houston after winning its first two matches in group play last week. Sounders FC faces the Columbus Crew on Monday night to determine the winner of Group B.

Seattle prevailed over FC Dallas in a penalty kick tiebreaker in its debut match last Friday at Centennial Park. The two teams had finished tied at 1-1 after regulation. Sounders FC goalkeeper Rodney Greiling saved the fourth round penalty attempt for Dallas and Seattle converted all five of its spot kicks to win the shootout, 5-4.

Aaron Kovar staked Sounders FC to a lead in the 12th minute, heading home a cross from Travis Strawn. FC Dallas, the SUM Cup runner-up last year and also in 2007, equalized via a free kick in the 42nd minute.

In the second group stage outing, Kovar set-up both goals as the Sounders FC downed the Philadelphia Union, 2-1, on Saturday.

Michael Gallagher connected with a header off a corner kick by Kovar in the 25th minute for a 1-nil lead. On the next foray moments later, DeAndre Yedlin hammered a 30-yard blast that the Union goalkeeper tipped over the crossbar. On the ensuing corner kick, Ian Lange scored out of a scramble from another Kovar corner kick in the 27th minute.

Early in the second half Rodney Greiling made two great saves to keep Philadelphia scoreless, but with 15 minutes left Union broke through to pull a goal back.

All 16 Major League Soccer teams are competing for the SUM Cup title. The final will be played on Wednesday, prior to the MLS All-Star Game, and placement games conducted on Thursday.

“We were very pleased with the effort and the heart that the boys showed yesterday and today to close the game out. We look forward to the game on Monday versus Columbus,” said Billy Crook, Sounders FC coach.

Sounders FC U-17 SUM Cup roster: Stefan Bangsund, Jacob Beck, Ike Crook, Dominique Dismuke, Michael Gallagher, Rodney Greiling, Prince Gundersen, Tolussa Hassan, Aaron Kovar, Ian Lange, Sam Langston, Chris Miller, Kurtis Pederson, Troy Peterson, Jordan Schweitzer, Travis Strawn, Taylor Stapf, Austin Sweeney, Keenan Townsend, DeAndre Yedlin.

Next: Surf’s Up for Youth

The Sounders FC is in the Boys U16 Super division of the Surf Cup. On Saturday it faces the Portuguese Athletic Tigres at 9:20 a.m. PT and LAFC at 2:40 p.m. PT. Its final group game is on Sunday against Chula Vista Rangers at 12 noon. The Surf Cup quarterfinals follow that afternoon, with the semifinals and final on August 2.

Sounders FC U-16 Surf Cup roster: Conor Adkisson, Stefan Bangsund, Jacob Beck, Jeffrey Collings, Ike Crook, Mikhail Doholis, Michael Gallagher, Prince Gundersen, Tolussa Hassan, Jesse Klug, Ian Lange, Samuel Langston, Odason Pelogi, Jordan Schweitzer, Michael Steele, Austin Sweeney, Jordan Thompson, Keenan Townsend.

Registration Open for Beach Blast

The men’s and women’s field are fast filling up for the second annual Sounders FC Soccer Beach Blast Tournament, presented by Super Supplements. The tournament is set for August 22 at Alki Beach and registration is now open at www.SoundersFC.com. Registration is $100 per team and $10 of that will benefit Washington Youth Soccer.

The 3-on-3 tournament will be played on sand at Alki, located in West Seattle. Space is limited to the first 48 team entries (24 male and 24 female). Each team is allowed up to five players and all participants must be 18-years-old.

Among the Leaders

Sounders FC leads the league in corner kicks (107), fouls suffered (223) and is second in assists (27). Seattle is fourth in shots (204) and third in offside (61). Sounders FC also ranks third in fouls committed with 199. Fredy Montero is tied for seventh and second in MLS with six goals and eight assists, respectively. Steve Zakuani has a team-high seven goals (T-3rd). Montero has taken 53 shots (3rd) with 19 shots on goal (6th). Montero is tied for second with 40 fouls suffered. Ljungberg is second with 75 corner kicks. Two Seattle veterans are among the top five in minutes played. Kasey Keller leads the league with 1575 minutes played in net and defender James Riley is sixth amongst all players with 1518 minutes played.

Open Cup Pairings

Sounders FC will host Chivas USA in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinal round on September 1 at Starfire Sports Stadium. The winner advances to the Cup Final, to be played on October 5. In the other semifinal, the Columbus Crew will visit D.C. United on September 1.

Open Cup History in Seattle

A Seattle team has now advanced to the Open Cup semifinals for the fourth year in a row. Sounders FC won the title in 2009 and the USL-1 Sounders reached that stage in both 2007 (against FC Dallas) and 2008 (Charleston). Prior to the Sounders FC victory last year, the only Seattle club to qualify for an Open Cup final was the amateur Mitre Eagles in 1987. The Eagles fell to Club Espana of Washington, D.C., on penalties following a 0-0 draw.

While the NASL Sounders did not participate in the Open Cup, the A-League Sounders competed on an annual basis, beginning in 1995. They lost to El Paso in the semifinals that season, and also advanced to the final four in 1996.

About San Jose

San Jose is tied fourth in the Western Conference. The Earthquakes are unbeaten since the World Cup break (1-0-3) but have won just once in its past seven matches (1-2-4). The Earthquakes nearly handed the league-leading Galaxy its first home loss as it drew, 2-2, at Los Angeles last week. Bobby Convey and Brandon McDonald both scored their first goals of the season before Landon Donovan tied the match in the 90th minute. The club has scored 20 goals this season for an average of 1.33 (4th in MLS) and are also top five in assists (21). San Jose sits near the bottom of the league in fouls called (148; 14th) and fouls suffered (124; 16th).

Last Meeting with San Jose

Seattle Sounders FC 0, San Jose Earthquakes 1 – May 22, 2010 – Recap

An early goal by Chris Wondolowski held up for a win by the Quakes over Sounders FC in front of 35,953 on the Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field.It marked the first time that Seattle had lost two consecutive home matches.

Wondolowski scored the game’s lone goal in the 11th minute. Bobby Convey served a ball into the box that was headed by Brandon McDonald and Bobby Burling before reaching Wondolowski. His left-footed shot rolled just inside the back post for his fifth goal of the season.

Seattle attempted to answer with seven first-half shots. In the 21st minute, Freddie Ljungberg crossed a dangerous ball into the box that found James Riley whose shot from just inside the 18 deflected off San Jose defenders.Again in the 28th minute, Ljungberg lofted a ball to Steve Zakuani who ripped a left-footed shot on goal that was stopped by Joe Cannon, the San Jose keeper.

Sounders FC continued pressing until the final whistle, finishing in an 18-3 advantage in total shots (3-1 on goal) and 11-3 on corner kicks. It tied a team record for shots attempted.

Rookie forward Miguel Montano nearly found the net in the 86th minute. Zakuani played a ball to Montero inside the box and his one-touch pass found Montano but his shot missed wide right.

Defender Jhon Kennedy sustained a knee injury in the final minutes. He later underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL. Brad Evans was missed the match due to a knee contusion and Peter Vagenas was unavailable with a quadriceps strain.

Previous Sounders FC-San Jose Earthquakes Meetings

Sounders FC 2, San Jose Earthquakes 0 – April 25, 2009 – Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field

Steve Zakuani scored a goal and assisted on another as Seattle snapped a two-game losing streak. Kasey Keller made five saves to earn his fourth shutout and his 389 minutes of scoreless soccer set an MLS record for consecutive scoreless minutes to start a season. Zakuani scored the first Sounders FC goal in the 38th minute. A free kick by Freddie Ljungberg bounced around in the box before settling at the feet of Tyrone Marshall who sent a quick far post cross to the head of Zakuani for the finish and his second goal of the season. Zakuani’s goal in the 42nd minute of last week’s game ended a stretch of 267 minutes without a goal for Seattle.

Sounders FC 2, San Jose Earthquakes 1 – June 13, 2009 – Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field

In the second meeting, Freddie Ljungberg and Fredy Montero led the way, each contributing a goal and an assist, as Seattle won for the first time in seven matches. Sounders FC opened the scoring shortly before halftime. Deep in the Earthquakes’ end, Montero stripped the ball off the feet of defender Jason Hernandez. He quickly found Sebastian Le Toux whose one-touch pass slipped in Ljungberg behind the defense for his second goal of the season past Joe Cannon. Montero scored what proved to be the decisive goal in the 59th minute off a play started by a Ljungberg corner kick. Montero converted re-directed header by Patrick Ianni to fall at the far post for a 2-0 lead. San Jose’s lone goal came midway through the second half. A pass from Montero was intercepted by Shea Salinas in the Sounders’ defensive third. He passed wide to forward Ryan Johnson whose cross inside the box across the face of the goal was finished by midfielder Darren Huckerby.

San Jose Earthquakes 4, Sounders FC 0 – August 2, 2009 – Buck Shaw Stadium

Shea Salinas assisted on two goals as San Jose dealt Seattle its worst loss of the season and ended a seven-game unbeaten run by Seattle. The Sounders FC started a stretch of three consecutive road games with a crucial mistake in the opening 90 seconds. San Jose’s Ryan Johnson crossed from the left corner and Osvaldo Alonso, running back toward his own net, deflected the ball past Kasey Keller for an own goal. Seattle played a man down for the final 67 minutes after James Riley drew a red card for a foul on Darren Huckerby. San Jose struck three times in the second half. Following a feed from Salinas, Cornell Glen drilled a low, 18-yard shot into the left corner in the 54th minute to make it 2-0. Huckerby put it out of reach in the 77th minute, scoring from close range after the Seattle defense failed to clear his initial shot. Salinas had the key pass on a 84th minute counterattack, finding Chris Wondolowski for the fourth goal. The closest Seattle chance came in the 76th minute when Osvaldo Alonso stripped a defender and hit the crossbar from the left wing. San Jose, which had gone winless in its previous four games, finished with a 16-4 advantage in shots and forced Keller to make a season-high 10 saves. The Sounders FC played without all-star midfielder Freddie Ljungberg who was serving a one-game suspension after receiving a red card against Chicago.

Earthquakes Notables

Earthquakes midfielder Bobby Convey has scored or assisted in each of the past two games. Although Convey didn’t get his first goal until last week at Los Angeles, he has eight assists on the season (2nd in MLS). Chris Wondolowski has helped the cause with six goals (7th in MLS), three of which were game-winners (2nd). Arturo Alvarez and rookie defender Ike Opara have each added three goals. Defender Jason Hernandez has played the full 90 minutes in all 15 matches this season for a team-high 1350 minutes played. Goalkeeper Jon Busch replaced Joe Cannon in net on June 25 and has started the past four matches. Busch has allowed four goals for a goals against average of 1.

Sounders FC/Earthquakes Connections

Seattle starting right back James Riley was selected by San Jose in the 2007 expansion draft following three years in New England. Sounders FC took him from the Earthquakes in the 2008 expansion draft. Riley played in 24 games for San Jose, starting 23. Sounders FC forward Roger Levesque started his professional career with the original MLS Earthquakes before he joined the USL-1 Sounders in the USL after several loan stints. Levesque played a total of four MLS games for the Quakes (2003-05). He was selected by San Jose with the 23rd overall pick in the 2003 MLS SuperDraft. Earthquakes defender Chris Leitch played under Sounders FC Coach Sigi Schmid in 2006 for Columbus, starting 18 of 24 appearances. Earthquakes assistant coach Ian Russell is a former USL-1 Sounder who helped form the nucleus of two championship teams in San Jose from 2001-03. The former University of Washington standout played a total of six seasons in the league, playing for the USL-1 Sounders in 1998 and ’99. San Jose’s top scorer Chris Wondolowski played on the Houston Dynamo (2006-09) alongside Patrick Ianni (2006-08) and Nate Jaqua (2007, 2008).Tacoma native Joey Gjertsen played the 2001 season for the Tacoma Titans in 2001 and two seasons for Evergreen State, in 2003-04. Levesque and Taylor Graham each played at nearby Stanford University (1999-2002) and Tyson Wahl played at California (2002-05).

Last MLS Match: Seattle Sounders FC 2, Colorado Rapids 1 – July 25, 2010 – Recap

Steve Zakuani scored two first-half goals as the Sounders FC beat the Rapids in front of the 26th straight sellout on the Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field.

Seattle extended its unbeaten run to three games and sits just one point out of a tie for fourth place in the West. The victory was Seattle’s first against an MLS Western Conference opponent.Colorado’s winless streak was extended to six games, dating back to June 5.

All three goals came in the game’s first 17 minutes, beginning with Zakuani’s opener in the 8th minute.After Fredy Montero fought through the Colorado defense, Zakuani picked up the loose ball and sent a 15-yard strike that bounced off the left post, hit a diving Matt Pickens and landed in the net.

Colorado equalized shortly after the restart. Omar Cummings cut inside the right side of the box and cracked a left-footed drive into the upper left corner in the 9th minute.

Seattle regained the lead in the 17th minute on another Zakuani goal. Montero split the defense with a ball to Sanna Nyassi who accelerated into the right side of the box before sending the ball into the crease for Zakuani to put home from point-blank range.

Zakuani now has a team-high seven goals, which ties him at fourth in MLS. It is his first multi-goal game and the first for Sounders FC since a home win over Colorado on June 28, 2009, when Nate Jaqua scored twice.

Nyassi has two assists in the past two games and Montero has a team-high eight assists this season, which is one short of tying the club record.

Kasey Keller preserved the victory with three saves, including a leaping fingertip save on Conor Casey’s header in the 20th minute and a diving stop on Jamie Smith’s backheel in the 61st minute.

Colorado held the advantage on shots, 15-8 (4-5 on goal), and corner kicks, 5-2.

Blaise Nkufo made his MLS debut, playing 70 minutes at forward for Sounders FC before giving way to Jaqua.

Sounders FC Top Attendances

The top 10 attendances are as follows:

66,848        August 5, 2009      Seattle v Barcelona (friendly)

65,289 July 18, 2009 Seattle v Chelsea (friendly)

45,631 July 18, 2010 Seattle v Celtic (friendly)

40,122 May 26, 2010 Seattle v Boca Juniors (friendly)

36,344 June 5, 2010 Seattle v New England

36,333 July 25, 2010 Seattle v Colorado

36,273 May 8, 2010 Seattle v Los Angeles

36,241 March 25, 2010 Seattle v Philadelphia

36,219 May 1, 2010 Seattle v Columbus

36,146 June 10, 2010 Seattle v D.C. United

*46,011 November 22, 2009 MLS Cup (Real Salt Lake v L.A.)

Training List

The following players are currently training with Sounders FC: Goalkeepers (3): Terry Boss, Chris Eylander*, Kasey Keller; Defenders (9): Taylor Graham, Leo Gonzalez, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Patrick Ianni, Tyrone Marshall, Jeff Parke, James Riley, Zach Scott, Tyson Wahl. Midfielders (8): Osvaldo Alonso, David Estrada, Brad Evans, Freddie Ljungberg, Sanna Nyassi, Michael Seamon, Nathan Sturgis, Peter Vagenas; Forwards (8): Mike Fucito, Blaise Nkufo, Nate Jaqua, Roger Levesque, Miguel Montano, Fredy Montero, Pat Noonan, Steve Zakuani.

*invitee

Throw-ins

Roger Levesque’s diving header to win at D.C. United in the 89th minute was voted MLS Goal of the Week for Week 16. It was the third such honor for a Seattle player this season. Fredy Montero won in Week 5 and Leo Gonzalez in Week 11…Pat Noonan turns 30 on August 2.

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